Discrimination in employment on the basis of religion occurs when someone does not experience equality of opportunity in employment because of their religion. This may include being refused a job, being dismissed from employment, being denied training opportunities or being harassed at work.
Discrimination on the basis of religion alone is not unlawful under federal anti-discrimination law. However in some cases people have been found to be covered by the term ‘ethnic origin’ in the Racial Discrimination Act, and discrimination on this basis is against the law. In addition, the Commission may investigate complaints of religious discrimination in employment and, where appropriate, try to resolve them by conciliation. Discrimination related to religion, religious conviction, religious belief or religious activity can be unlawful under the laws of the ACT, Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. In South Australia, discrimination on the basis of religious dress or appearance in work or study can be unlawful.
Some people observe particular rules on clothing, appearance or jewellery for religious reasons. For example, some Sikh men wear a turban to adhere with their religious beliefs. Employers should not discriminate against a person in employment on the basis of their religious dress.
Example: An employer refuses to offer an employee a role serving customers because she wears a hijab.